Arising out recent class discussion topics touching on the ideas of James Cone’s ideas on Liberation Theology and the relationship between the Cross and the Lynching Tree, our group decided to focus the topic of our presentation around Liberation Theology. However, in order to create a counter argument to stimulate further discourse, we introduced the Theology of Prosperity, as an opposing theological concept, to our presentation. Hence, we came up with the topic of Liberation Theology vs. Theology of Prosperity.
Firstly, it was necessary to give the class a concise definition of these broad theories, and follow these definitions with general background explanation on the idea behind the respective theologies. The definitions that we used to introduce the different ideas were; ‘Liberation Theology: A form of Christian theology that emphasizes social and political liberation as the anticipation of ultimate salvation.’ And, ‘Theology of Prosperity: A religious belief that wealth is a divine reward for a person's faith in god.’ After having defined the concepts of discussion in our own terms, we proceeded to explain each idea separately, incorporating questions respective to the specific topics, and finished by introducing questions comparing and contrasting these two theories and discussing their nature in full, including the showing of a short video clip of a sermon by Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
The ideal behind the idea of Liberation Theology maintains a liberation from a socially, politically, or economically oppressed position through their infallible faith. In that way it maintains an aspect of malleability by means that Liberation Theology can be founded in a number of different social communities in various locations that fit the need for liberation. Liberation Theology is an activist theology, pursuing change and justice in the world, particularly in third world countries, and in oppressed populations. This idea, however, is very unpopular among the church.
Although this information on Liberation Theology is essential to understanding of this concept, the focus of our presentation, in relation to our class, was Black Liberation Theology. It is easy to see how African Americans relate to the idea of Liberation Theology, as a historically socially oppressed group of peoples. The encompassed theme of Black Liberation theologians is the concept of God emancipating African Americans from white racism. Jesus in Liberation Theology is commonly represented as a ‘Poor Black Man’, therefore allowing the representation of a relatable figure for the African American people. One way in which we felt the concept of Liberation Theology come together with class discussion, was in relation to the Black Liberation Theologian, James Cone, whom we had previously discussed in class time, leading up to this presentation.
When it came to the Theology of Prosperity we discovered that it boiled down to this: those who have money, health, and are...